'Mandela is okay, memory fading'
Cape Town, March 11 : Former South African president Nelson Mandela, who has just returned home after a routine medical checkup, "was doing okay", but his memory has been fading, it was revealed Monday.
Mandela, 94, was admitted into a Pretoria hospital Saturday and was discharged the next day following "a successful medical examination", according to the Presidency.
Mandela's close friend, advocate George Bizos, said there was no big problem with the anti-apartheid icon's health, but his memory wasn't what it used to be, reported Xinhua.
Mandela seemed to have forgotten that some of their mutual friends had died, said Bizos, who visited Mandela just over a week ago.
"Unfortunately he sometimes forgets that one or two of them had passed on and has a blank face when you tell him that Walter Sisulu and some others are no longer with us," Bizos told Eyewitness News.
But he said Mandela was aware of current political events.
Bizos added that Madiba never really spoke about issues within government after he stepped away from public life.
"If he was asked 'What do you think about this or that issue', his inevitable response was 'Go and ask my president'. He never wanted to second guess his successor," Bizos said.
Mandela's health has been focus of concern these years.
On Dec 8, he was taken to a Pretoria hospital for a lung infection and gallstones. He underwent a successful surgery to have the gallstones removed after doctors attended to his lung infection.
He was discharged from hospital Dec 26 to undergo home-based care. This was Mandela's longest hospital stay since 2001 when he underwent seven weeks of radiotherapy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Mandela served as South African president from 1994 to 1999. He had spent 27 years in prison before being elected the first black president in the country after the end of apartheid.